Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cherry Creek Sneak - 5 Mile Race

Ran the Cherry Creek Sneak today 33:27. Which is a PR for the Sneak, but I really thought I could get in under 33.

It was really nice out. Sunny with no wind and temp's in the 30's overnight. I thought it might be perfect if the temps stayed low. The race starts at 9:15 and by then it had warmed up quite a bit probably around 60. I went with a muscle shirt and it was the right call.

My son Zach ran it also, his first 5 mile race. He had just run a PR mile - 6:10 on Friday and hasn't done a lot of distance work. We discussed it before the race and I told him he should probably shoot for an 8 minute pace.

We got there early as I usually do and parked in the garage off of Bayoud just after the 5k race had started about 8:15. We had an hour to kill, so Zach and I walked around and I showed him the start and finish and we picked a meeting point for after the race (just outside the Beer Garden). We watched some 5k finishers and then sat near the start and watched the Student 1 mile race start. It had warmed up so we went to the car to dress out for the race and grab his ipod. We got to the Start area around 9:00 with plenty of time. They split the walkers from the runners this year on different sides of the road. A good idea.

We made our way up near the front. We saw Tom and Matt talking on the median near the start we stood there with them till the race started. I saw Jay (bsg) and Paul from the Y near the front. I told Zach not to get pulled in too the fast start and just stay in a good zone near 8 minutes if he can hold it. We worked our way to the middle of the road because there was a funnel on our side of the street around the starter area. Tom's idea. Nice catch.

The gun goes off and about 4 seconds later we cross the start line. I was following Matt through the crowd but got caught in a group and also lost site of Zach and Tom. I caught up to Matt and felt good at the start, it was in the shade some and cool. I thought about my calf problems and hoped today would be a good day. Matt pulled away from me some, which I expected. He was going for a 6:15 pace and I was looking for 6:30. At about a half mile I look over and there is Zach a few feet ahead of me. We were doing about a 6 minute mile pace and he was holding it. Despite my advice he had gotten pulled in. I waved as I passed him, he looked like he was slowing into his zone as he was surprised to see me too.

I felt good through the first mile and thought I could pick it up later in the race since I had held back some although I had a 6:20 split. I was thirsty though and it was in the sun, I grabbed some water at 1.5 miles and could tell I had backed off my pace, my Garmin was showing 6:44 or so. When you turn on university it goes up a hill at the 2 mile marker (6:39). It's a short but steep climb with a turn around at the top.

Going downhill from the top feels good, but you hit the sun with no shade the whole way. You can see Cherry Creek Mall on your right and the Country Club wall on your left. Seems like a long way to Speer. You can see the runners in front of you and behind you. I saw Zach behind me. I saw Matt at the turn around he was looking strong and on his 6:15 goal.

When I finally got to Speer, it's very flat there but I know this is a long stretch up and back. Mile 3 is about 1/3 of the way up 6:52 on that split. Uggg I was bonking again just like I do every year, I tried to kick it in but my quads were screaming and my lungs were too. It was getting hot.

You can see the front runners coming down speer about half way. It's neat to see who's winning, first women, any faster friends etc. I noticed Paul and Jay were running right next to each other. I don't think they know each other, much less that they are in the same age group I thought.

When you turn around before Downing, you can see people behind you. I heard Tom yell Denny, looked for Zach but didn't see him. This is the longest hottest stretch of the race and where I usually fade. This year was no exception. It takes forever to get to the left turn off 1st street to the back streets of cherry creek north. I hit the 4th mile split in 6:53. I could tell I was on a PR pace if I could run the last mile in under 7. That encouraged me.

As I was past the 4th mile just before the turn, I caught up to Matt, he saw me over his shoulder and picked it up. I couldn't tell what happened but he seemed to be running fine now. I thought maybe I could catch him and finish with him but he pulled ahead again. When you get to the side streets, it feels good because you finally get some shade and you know you are on the home stretch. Pretty flat but a little bit uphill on that stretch. I was trying to pick people off and get my pace back to 6:30 for the last mile. I was struggling though. Just before the turn back to the finish I caught up to Matt again. I asked him what was wrong and he said bad cramps. I told him I was bonking and he said me too, that's why I'm cramping. We ran a few blocks together as it twists back to the finish. About 3 blocks from the finish he starting surging and I tried to stay with him. I really kicked it about a block from the finish but so did he. He finished 33:21, 6 seconds ahead of me.

After the race a guy came up to me and said "Good race you outkicked me at the end." I didn't recall seeing him, I was focusing on Matt, I talked with him a bit he was a nice guy, he's doing Colfax next month. Matt and I were both pretty wasted at the end, but we did improve our times from last year. 50 seconds for me, 20 seconds for him.

After the race Matt and I walked back to the goody area. The food this year was not very good, not a lot of trinkets either. We went to the beer garden and had a beer then saw Tom. He did about 36 he said, but felt good the whole way. We had a beer together and talked about the race. Matt' wife and friends met us there and we talked to them a bit. Matt's wife and her friend ran the 5k. I looked over and saw Zach by the fence so I went over and talked to him. He was happy with his race but didn't have his times. He said he was 22 at the 3 mile mark which would be a great pace for him if he held it. When the results were posted later we found out that Zach did 39:48 and got 2nd in his age group / division. Way to go Zach!

It started to cloud up and the wind picked up after the race. Paul joined us and we talked to him about his race. He didn't know Jay or if he finished ahead or behind. Looking at the results later they finished 1,2 in the Division with Paul beating him by about 15 seconds. I finished my beer said goodbye to everyone and finally found Zach again and we walked back to the car.

Zach really enjoyed the race and it was a good day for us to do this together. On the way home we talked about his running and upcoming races, Boulder Bolder and Cross Country season. He would like to do a half marathon this year. Maybe Denver after Cross Country Season in October would be good.

Fun Event, Fun Day

Race Results

Garmin Watch Data for Race


  1. Well done, yeah the day definitley warmed up a bit from the start. I wish we could have started at 8am, that would have been ideal.

    Also, congrats on your son. Some of my foundest memories are doing road races with my Dad when I was growing up, hope to have the same experience with my kids when they get older.


  2. Wow, that's a novel and a half!!! when you get on a roll..... Anyway, congrats1